Russian and Belarusian athletes reinstated by the international federation
The International Fencing Federation (FIE) became, on Friday March 10, the first sports body to come out in favor of the reinstatement of Russian and Belarusian athletes, thus paving the way for their qualification for the Paris Olympics in 2024. The fencers of these two countries had been ousted from international competitions in March 2022, a few days after the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army.
Friday, during an extraordinary congress of the FIE which was held online, 89 national federations, out of 136 voting, declared themselves in favor of this return, relate The Team and the website Insidethegames. From April 3, Russians and Belarusians can therefore be aligned in the international qualifying events for the next Olympic Games (World Cup, World Championship and European Championship).
The FIE, which, for timing reasons, expressed itself before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided on its position on the subject, nevertheless leaves itself a way out by specifying that this decision has been taken “subject to possible recommendations and future decisions of the IOC and in accordance with the conditions of neutrality and individual eligibility”.
As “neutral” athletes
The IOC outlined a roadmap in January for the reintegration of Russians and Belarusians into international competitions as athletes “neutral”but without establishing a timetable.
Faced with the outcry aroused in Europe by a possible return of the Russians to world sport, the Olympic body is increasing consultations behind closed doors for the time being, and in addition leaves it to the federations to decide which athletes are eligible for their competitions.
Thursday, March 9, anticipating this favorable vote, Bruno Gares, president of the French Fencing Federation and member of the FIE executive committee, explained to AFP that the Russians and Belarusians ” for R[aie]nt to resume the championships in the territories where they are authorized the visa, but it is the IOC which will have to decide to know if they will or not make the Games “.
Opinions on this sensitive issue differ from one continent to another. The Olympic Council of Asia has already proposed to reinstate the Russian and Belarusian athletes, as have the African Olympic Committees, which voted on Saturday March 4 for their participation in the Paris Olympics.